McCullough Gulch

OutAndBack • 5.8 mi • 662 ft

This is an especially beautiful tour with four impressive “Centennial Peaks” looming above you. This outing takes you up McCullough Gulch, south of Breckenridge, to an old cabin. On a clear day this an especially beautiful tour, surrounded by some of the loftiest peaks in the state. Quandary Peak was named by some prospectors who were in a bit of a “quandary” about some mineral found on its slopes. It is ranked as the 13th highest and Pacific Peak makes the list of the highest hundred peaks at 13,950’. Fletcher Mountain and unofficially named Atlantic Peak, forming the western headwall of this basin, also make the exclusive list of Centennial Peaks” (100 highest).
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Activity Type: Cross-Country Skiing
Nearby City: Breckenridge
Length: 5.8 total miles
Elevation Gain: 662 feet
Trail Type: Out-and-back
Skill Level: More Difficult; Avalanche Danger: Moderate
Duration: 77 minutes up, 66 minutes down
Season: Mid-November to late March
Trailhead Elevation: 10,848 feet
Top Elevation: 11,350 feet
Local Contacts: Arapaho National Forest (Dillon Ranger District)
Local Maps: USGS Breckenridge
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Recent Trail Reviews


We started at the trail head around 5:00 P.M. We found the trail to be moderate as stated in the web site. Although the total elevation gain is only around 800 ft., you find that due to the ups and down you will climb most of the 800 ft. more than once. The water falls are great and they supply a great source of hydration if your planning to spend the night. We did not see a lot of places where a large tent could be pitched but our backpacking tents easily found a home. There is ample wild life to be found including marmots, mountain goats, deer and probably big horn sheep, although we didn't see any of those. The temperature dropped to what I would guess was about 20 degrees. When we went to bed, our tents were iced over with about a half inch of ice and it snowed on the nw side of Quandry Peak. Not bad for August. Once you get to the lake, you will find beautiful scenery that makes for some great pictures. The lake is to shallow to support any fish so bring your own food if spending the night. This trail can easily be done in a half a day.


I've taken this trail in September, before the snows, and it's a beautiful hike. At the head of the valley, there's a waterfall and above that a glacial lake. The "old cabin" is inhabited in the summer by a miner working an old family claim, so please be respectful of his property.

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